School Funding Commission to Hold First Meeting Tomorrow

By John Forester | December 13, 2017

The Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding will hold its first meeting tomorrow (December 14th) at 10:00am in Room 412 East, State Capitol.  The Commission will hear presentations from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB).  Testimony will be from these invited speakers only.

The work of this Commission is a priority for the SAA.  We will keep you informed of the proceedings as well as opportunities for SAA members to testify before the Commission.

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Bill Circulated “Fixing” Concurrent Enrollment Under ECCP

By John Forester | December 13, 2017

As you know, the Early College Credit Program (ECCP) adopted in the 2017-19 State Budget significantly altered the funding model for concurrent enrollment programs at UW System campuses.  The old system was a shared funding model with K12 school districts absorbing the staffing costs and the UW institutions providing the accreditation and accountability.  Parents then received access to college credits at reduced cost.

However, the new ECCP program requires school districts to pick up 75% of the costs, with the state picking up 25%.  The new funding burden for school districts will likely end this effective program.

Legislation circulated yesterday by a bipartisan group of legislators would exempt concurrent enrollment programs at UW System schools from the new ECCP requirements.  The SAA is supporting this effort, as is the Southeastern Wisconsin Schools Alliance (SWSA), the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance (WiRSA) and the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB).

SAA members are encouraged to contact their legislators as soon as possible and ask them to sign on to this bill.

See LRB 4957/1 and Co-Sponsor Memo.

The SAA will keep you informed of this important effort.

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144 School Districts Receive Sparsity Aid

By John Forester | December 12, 2017

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has announced that small, sparsely populated districts across the state have received $18.5 million in sparsity aid for the 2017-18 school year. The 144 districts that qualified for sparsity aid had membership of 745 or fewer students and density of less than 10 pupils per square mile of the district’s geographic area.

Additional information, including the districts that received aid and the amounts, is available in the DPI news release here.

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Legislative Leaders Announce Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding

By John Forester | December 6, 2017

Speaker Vos and Majority Leader Fitzgerald have announced the creation of the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding.

The Commission will be chaired by Representative Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) and Senator Luther Olsen.  The Commission will hold its first meeting this month.

For more information, including the members of the Commission, see the press release from Vos and Fitzgerald.

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Stroebel Appointed to Joint Finance Committee

By John Forester | December 6, 2017

From WisPolitics.com …

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald today appointed Sen. Duey Stroebel to the Joint Finance Committee.

The Saukville Republican, who was elected to the Senate in 2015, replaces Sheila Harsdorf, who last month became DATCP secretary. He also was one of three Republicans who issued a series of veto demands to Gov. Scott Walker before agreeing to support final passage of the budget in September.

Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said Stroebel will serve the remainder of the 2017-18 term.

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Another Attempt to Limit the State Superintendent’s Power

By John Forester | December 6, 2017

From the Legal Side . . .

Here we go again.  Check out the latest Legal Update from the Strang Patteson Law Firm in which they place the latest challenge to the State Superintendent’s authority in the context of a more than two-decade long battle to limit the Superintendent’s power.

The SAA regularly receives these legal updates and we believe this is valuable information for SAA members.  We are distributing this update to SAA members with the permission of Strang Patteson.

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update, SAA Legal Side | No Comments »

Governor Signs Education Bills

By John Forester | December 1, 2017

Yesterday, Governor Walker signed the following education bills into law:

AB-266 Technical Excellence Scholarship Program (Krug, Scott) Eligibility for the Technical Excellence Higher Education Scholarship Program. Signed (Act 91)

AB-250 Alternative Education Grants (Assembly Education Committee) Alternative education grants. Signed (Act 92)

AB-251 DPI Grant Programs (Assembly Education Committee) Modifying rules related to various grant programs administered by the Department of Instruction. Signed (Act 93)

AB-280 Financial Literacy in Schools (Krug, Scott) Incorporating financial literacy into the curriculum of public schools. Signed (Act 94)

SB-299 Montessori Teaching License (Olsen, Luther) An initial teaching license based on completion of a Montessori teacher education program. Signed (Act 106)

SB-382 School Employee Tuberculosis Screening (Olsen, Luther) Screening school district employees for tuberculosis. Signed (Act 107)

 

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SWIB Announces New Executive Director

By John Forester | December 1, 2017

From The Wheeler Report . . .

The State of Wisconsin Investment Board has announced Rick Smirl as the new Executive Director. Smirl will transition into the position in January 2018.

 

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Teacher Protection Act Introduced in Assembly

By John Forester | November 30, 2017

The “Teacher Protection Act”, authored by Representative Jeremy Theisfeldt (R-Fond du Lac), has been introduced in the Assembly as Assembly Bill 693 with 16 Assembly Republican co-sponsors.  The bill has no Senate sponsors.  AB 693 has  been referred to the Assembly Committee on Judiciary, chaired by Representative Jim Ott (R-Mequon).  The SAA strongly opposes the bill.  Stay tuned.

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New Lifetime Teaching Licenses Proving Problematic

By John Forester | November 29, 2017

Check out the Wisconsin Public Radio coverage of the technical problems with the new lifetime teaching licenses.

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

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